Wednesday, December 10, 2014

IDF Braces For Protests Ahead Of Funeral For Senior PA Official

The IDF bolstered security measures across the West Bank on Wednesday evening amid fears that tensions could escalate after a senior Palestinian official died en route to a Ramallah hospital earlier in the day following clashes with Israeli troops.

At the same time, Palestinian officials decided to put off a decision on how to respond to the death of Ziad Abu Ein, but warned that all options were on the table, including freezing vital security cooperation with Israel

The funeral for Abu Ein is scheduled for Thursday in the West Bank and Israeli military officials fear it could break out into widespread protests and rioting.

DF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz ordered the transfer of two additional battalions as well as two Border Police companies to the area, Army Radio reported, citing fears of riots following the funeral, which is set to take place Thursday afternoon.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas vowed to respond to what he called the “brutal assault” on Abu Ein and summoned an emergency session of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, amid speculation he could suspend longstanding security cooperation between the PA and Israel.

“All options are open for discussion and implementation,” he said.
Following the emergency session, top Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub said the Palestinian Authority decided to suspended all security cooperation with Israel effective immediately, according to Israel Radio.
Abu Ein, who headed the PA government agency that lobbies against the security barrier and settlements, took part in a protest near Turmusaya, south of the Shiloh settlement in the northern West Bank. The demonstration later deteriorated into a scuffle with Israeli troops, during which Abu Ein inhaled tear gas and was hit by a soldier’s rifle butt, Palestinian witnesses said. An Israeli witness, however, claimed the Palestinian official had not been struck with the gun.

Abu Ein, 55, collapsed at the site and was evacuated by ambulance, but he died before reaching the hospital.

An Israeli army doctor treated Abu Ein before he was evacuated to hospital, AFP reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday conveyed a personal message to the Palestinian Authority pledging that Israel would investigate the death of Abu Ein, and urging restraint.

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